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Bert Hansen collection of Sigerist Circle material


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Sigerist Circle, named after leading health-left physician Henry Sigerist (1891-1957), was organized in 1990, in Baltimore, Maryland, following the American Association of the History of Medicine meeting. The Circle is a group of medical historians, as well as scholars and other supporters interested in the history of health care and the biomedical sciences; with special interest in the issues of class, race, and gender. The group uses Marxist, feminist, and related critical methodologies in the analysis of medical history.

The Sigerist Circle holds a Scholarly Session, immediately before the American Association for the History of Medicine annual conference, during which cutting-edge scholarship on areas of interest to the membership is showcased and there are presentations by activists and community organizations ( In addition to the Scholarly Session, the Sigerist Circle issues newsletters and bibliographies of publications relating to left issues in medicine and medical history in order to broaden the Circle's scholarship and facilitate information sharing.

Walter Lear (1923-2010) was a founding member and a long-time secretary of the Sigerist Circle until his death in 2010. At the time of the Circle's formation, there were only a handful of members, but over the years, membership has grown to about 200. According to donor and member of the Sigerist Circle, Bert Hansen, Lear was "crucial to building [the Circle's] importance and continuously supporting its activities, both in vision and in practical terms." Other key leaders in the organization were Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Ted Brown, Elizabeth Fee, Beatrix Hoffman, Pauline Mazumdar, Ed Morman, and Corinne Sutter.

The bulk of the above information taken from:

This collection contains correspondence, minutes and agendas, and publications of the Sigerist Circle (not to be confused with Great Britain's Sigerist Society). Researchers will find a small number of letters, generally speaking addressed to the Sigerist Circle's membership, and relating to administration, meetings, formation of the Speakers Bureau, and membership updates. Authors of letters include Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Ted Brown, Bert Hansen, Walter Lear, and Ed Morman. The letter dated April 17, 1991, includes a draft for by-laws. There is an agenda for the 1991 Annual Meeting's business session; minutes for the 1992 and 1993 Annual Meeting's business session; and minutes of the 1994 Steering Committee meeting.

The bulk of the collection consists of publications of the Circle, including a copy of Ed Morman's "Sigerist Circle Cumulative Bibliographies;" the Sigerist Circle Newsletter (1991-1993) and its later iteration Sigerist Circle Newsletter and Bibliography (1994-2003); and Sigerist Shorts (1994-1999).

The collection provides a glimpse into the issues important to the Sigerist Circle, the areas of research and investigation, and the ways in which the Circle worked and administered its own operations.

Gift of Bert Hansen, 2018

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2019 February 5
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Correspondence to Sigerist Circle membership, 1991-1995.
Box 1 Folder 1
Minutes and agendas for business sessions of Annual Meeting and Steering Committee meetings (with associated mailings), 1991-1994.
Box 1 Folder 2
"Sigerist Circle Cumulative Bibliographies," by Ed Mormon, after 1993.
Box 1 Folder 3
Sigerist Circle Newsletter, Numbers 1-5, 1991-1993.
Box 1 Folder 4
Sigerist Circle Newsletter and Bibliography, Numbers 6-12, 1994-1996.
Box 1 Folder 5
Sigerist Circle Newsletter and Bibliography, Numbers 13-14, 17, and 19, 1997-1998, 2000, 2003.
Box 1 Folder 6
Sigerist Shorts, 1994-1999.
Box 1 Folder 7

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